Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Games goal

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Despite failing to win a medal or have any of the athletes advance to the finals of any events, one sports administrator does not believe that Barbados made a step backward at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
In a telephone interview from Delhi, India, yesterday the Barbados team’s chef de mission Cammie Burke said it was instead, a case of Barbados being left behind.
“I don’t think we have made a step backward. The Games are changing, becoming more scientific and technical. We need to step up to that level,” Burke said.
“We need to improve our technical ability. We need to bring in technical people in the various sports at the top to ease some legacy for our coaches.”
But without much technical assistance, Barbadian athletes brought home at least one medal from the five Games between 1954 and 1970. There was a medal drought from 1974 to 1994, but in 1998 Barbados’ top three athletes delivered.
Andrea Blackett won gold in the 400m hurdles, while Barry Forde (match sprint) and Obadele Thompson (100m) both copped bronze. In 2002 and 2006, there was one bronze medal in boxing from Junior Greenidge and Anderson Emmanuel respectively to spare the team blushes.
Forde and Emmanuel bowed out in the early rounds this time, while Blackett, Thompson and Greenidge have long since gone into the sunset.
“Those medals we won in 1998 were from people who were overseas and were exposed to top level training,” Burke said.
Home-grown
“With the exception of Stephen Headley, all are home grown. We need to bring in technical people to assist with getting our athletes to the right level. If we hope to win medals, we need to put some plan in place to ensure we are on the medal podium. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen if we have the will to do so.”
Competition is over for the team, but Burke was still impressed with some of the first-timers.
“Despite not winning a medal, we have seen some good performances from the younger ones who are here for the first time and this gives us hope for the future.
“We need to invest in the young talent and ensure they are better prepared.”
Burke singled out swimmer Raymond Edwards, cyclist Darren Matthews and members of the badminton team who went for development purposes.
“They are able to win or beat a couple of the countries and win a couple of matches. It just shows that exposure to the game on this side of the world will help the game in Barbados,” Burke said.
The netballers, who have traditionally underperformed at this level, finally came good, finishing seventh overall. Burke commended them, but wanted to see more consistency.
“The netballers played in spots. I think they did exceptionally well to improve on their ranking. They came in ranked tenth and are going out seventh. It was a goal they set themselves and I commend them for that, but they need more consistency when they come up against top-level competition,” he added.
“There is no reason why they shouldn’t have beaten South Africa. We didn’t expect them to beat New Zealand and England, but they shouldn’t allow names to [intimidate them].
“They played with fight, they played with heart and they wanted it more than Trinidad. They took lashes and that is the sort of fight we want to see from them with more consistency,” Burke said.

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